Japan's Ryoyu Kobayashi soars through the air for his sixth consecutive ski jumping win this season. / © AFP
Japan's Ryoyu Kobayashi followed his clean sweep of the prestigious Four Hills tournament last weekend by soaring to a sixth consecutive World Cup win at Val di Fiemme in Italy on Saturday.
The 22-year-old, only the third man to complete a clean sweep at the Four Hills, blew away his rivals with jumps of 135m and 136m, the second equalling the record achieved by four-time world champion Adam Malysz 16 years ago.
His total of 315 points crushed the opposition with Polish pair Dawid Kubacki (288.5) and Kamil Stoch (282) were second and third respectively.
Another win on Sunday would see the ski jumper from Hachimantai in northern Japan become the first competitor achieve seven consecutive wins.
Four jumpers have won six events in a row -- Finns Janne Ahonen (2004/05) and Matti Hautamäki (2005) and Austrians Thomas Morgenstern (2007) and Gregor Schlierenzauer (2009).
"It's an honour that my name is now mentioned in the same breath as these four great ski jumpers," said Kobayashi.
"Right now I don't think about the fact that tomorrow I can become the first ever to win seven World Cups in a row. I'm focusing on my jumps, I don't think about anything else."
With his ninth victory this winter, Kobayashi also took another step towards the record of Slovenian Peter Prevc, who won 15 times in the 2015-2016 season.
"I think tomorrow we will lock Ryoyu up in one of the containers," joked Stoch.
"Maybe not every year, but every few years, there is an athlete who is outstanding and who is out of reach for his opponents. Right now this is Ryoyu."
Kobayashi leads the overall World Cup standings with 1056 points -- way ahead of Poland's Piotr Zyla (565 points) and Stoch (564 points).
Olympic champion Andreas Wellinger of Germany finished down the field in 26th on Saturday.